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Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Arduino | 0 comments

Getting Started With Arduino

The Arduino is an Open-Source single-board microcontroller platform designed to be cheap and easy to use. For this reason, it has become extremely popular with the DIY community. It’s pretty cool, and not just for microcontroller noobs. The nice thing about the Arduino platform is that  all of the boring work is already done. You can just use your imagination and build interesting things without needing to worry about board design and sourcing parts. If you require more, everything is open source and you can extend the platform as desired.


There are several official Arduino boards available each with different size and features and many non-official designs. The Arduino boards generally composed of an Atmel 8-bit microcontroller with the peripheral components necessary to support communication with external circuitry. An interesting feature of the Arduino boards is the standard connector footprint that is used to allow the microcontroller board to be connected to expansion modules called Shields, footprint compatible expansion PCBs that can be stacked to provide extra I/O, motor control, memory, etc. As the system is open source, anyone can freely design their own microcontroller board, shields or any other connecting components.

The Arduino hardware reference designs are distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.5 license and are available on the Arduino Web site.


The Arduino platform has its own cross-platform development environment. It was designed to be easy for those new to programming. Arduino programs are written in C or C++. Users only need to define a setup()  and loop() functions to make a runnable cyclic executive program. The setup function is run once, on application startup and is used to configure the board settings. The loop function is run repeatedly for the remainder of the operation of the board. Before a program is uploaded to the device, the IDE does some extra processing to the file adding an include header and a simple main() function. The source code for the IDE is available and released under the GNU General Public License, version 2.

SparkFun Inventor’s Kit

I purchased a SparkFun RedBoard to get my feet wet with the Arduino platform. It is very similar to the Arduino UNO. It is based on the Atmel ATmega328 microcontroller and has the following features:

–        Input voltage – 7-15V

–        0-5V outputs with 3.3V compatible inputs

–        14 Digital I/O Pins (6 PWM outputs)

–        6 Analog Inputs

–        32k Flash Memory

–        16MHz Clock Speed

–        R3 Shield Compatible



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